Secret of Haunted Bog is set in New Raven’s Old Chinatown, a fictitious city on the East Coast. My co-authors and I buy small souvenirs for each other or dollar store treasures that apply to our WIP. Things like chopsticks, a fan, fortune cookies, bug in a lollipop, or a small toy skull, are little surprises that delight us, draw out the inner child, and get us hyped up to work on our children’s series.
The shelves in my office got too cluttered, so that’s when I decided to make shadow boxes. Now I hang them on the wall. They’re great conversation pieces.
Try collecting things that reflect your own WIP and keep them near you when you write. You’d be amazed how they can inspire you to keep working toward your goal. Plus, you’ll have some visual aids all ready for when you do author visits.
This shadow box has a pirate theme in honor of Vlad, the 300-year-old talking pirate rat, who’s a character in every Monster Moon book. He’s always singing pirate ditties. “Yeo-heave-ho and a bottle of rum! ARRR!” Visuals like shadow boxes provide a nice lead-in for introducing your book, work-in-progress, short story, poems, or whatever you’re reading or speaking about.
Zala Manor is the old mansion next-door to the graveyard, where generations of the Zantony family are buried. It’s the setting for the monstrous showdown at midnight on Halloween in Curse at Zala Manor.
Props and visual aids help me connect with kids at author visits. How about you? What works best for you when you visit a school and interact with kids?
You don’t have to wait until you’re published to do school visits. If you have a hard time speaking in public, maybe you can partner up with a writing buddy and do it together. I not only have a great time when I do visits with my co-authors, but I also learn a lot from the way they present themselves and the interesting things they share with the students.
Whether I’m on my own or working as a team, interacting with kids is a huge treat for me. After all, reaching kids is what makes being a children’s author so worthwhile.
In my next blog, I’ll cover helpful tips for reading aloud to groups of children.
“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”